The Jaguar by Ted Hughes Commentary

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The poem ‘‘The Jaguar’’ is written by the former British Poet Laureate, Ted Hughes. It is written in the third person perspective, describing the animal’s attitudes in the zoo. The speaker of the poem is unknown, but one could assume that Ted Hughes is the speaker himself. The poem describes the lifestyle of animals at the zoo and their different attitudes towards their entrapment in their cage, and tributes the majesty of the Jaguar. It compares the bored and lazy moods of animals, to the energetic, lively and adventurous mood of the Jaguar, which does not see his entrapped life, as anything which could stop him from behaving as if it were in his natural environment. This creates a rather reflective mood, and shows that the speaker feels the animals should not be kept in captivity.

‘‘The Jaguar’’ is a free verse poem, which is structured on five stanzas with four lines. The basic rhyme pattern that it follows is A-B-B-A except for the last stanza which fallows C-D-C-D. This makes the poem sound more pleasant and rhythmic, because rhymes make a poem easier to read, and create a certain rhythm in it. Another factor that makes the poem rhythmic is the effective use of enjambment that the author has made to accelerate the speed of the poem in certain places for example, between the first and second stanza, where the technique is used to match the rhythm and tension of the poem, making it sound as if the Jaguar is running.

The poem’s clever use of techniques such as similes and metaphors clearly puts an image in the reader’s mind of the actions of animals and their ways of life. The quote ‘‘the parrots shriek as if they are on fire’’ gives us an accurate suggestion of what we would normally see at a day in the zoo, suggesting that the parrots are very loud, and may be annoyed by each other. The poet uses the quote ‘‘fatigued with indolence, tiger and lion lie still as the sun’’ to describe how bored and static the tiger and lion are, and compares them...
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